Dawson: The race for second place

ESPNSTAR presenter Steve Dawson writes: Abu Dhabi will see a slightly less dramatic build up to its Formula 1 Grand Prix this year.

Motorsports news: Jenson Button

By Steve Dawson

That's hardly surprising. Last year it hosted the season finale when five men all had a chance of leaving the emirate with the Drivers' Championship in tow.

This year the championship has already been won by Sebastian Vettel, who also won last year, and on top of that, it's now the penultimate race of the season as this year's finale will be in Sao Paulo, Brazil on November 24th.

There are though still some battles to be fought and questions to be answered: who will finish 2nd for example.

Jenson Button looks in good shape to achieve that. With 25 points for a win (and perhaps more pertinently, given Sebastian Vettel's domination, 18 points for 2nd place), Button lies 13 points clear of Ferrari's Fernando Alonso, with 4th-placed Mark Webber a further six points behind. Button's team mate Lewis Hamilton looks unlikely to beat his fellow Brit, with 38 points to make up if he's to guarantee the notional number one driver's seat at McLaren next year.

Looking ahead to next season, there is speculation that will excite many fans in Singapore, linking former world champion Kimi Raikkonen with a drive at Williams next season. An announcement about his future is touted to be made this weekend. How magnificent it would be if Williams could make significant ground in the winter and produce a car that would see someone as popular as the maverick Finn challenging for podiums on a regular basis?

With the 2012 season still in mind, the week after the Abu Dhabi race will also see the young driver test lasting three days. Real lovers of Formula 1 will watch eagerly in an attempt to spot the stars of the future. Perhaps the highlight will be keeping an eye on the times made by young American Alexander Rossi who tests with Team Lotus.

Back to the main race on Sunday though, watch also for Renault drivers Bruno Senna and Vitaly Petrov as they continue their drive to impress. Next season's Renault seats are still up for grabs with Robert Kubica, Romain Grosjean and the three young drivers that they'll be testing next week at the Yas Marina Circuit, also looking for a drive.

My money's on Grosjean and Senna getting the nod, leaving Kubica more time to assess whether he can make a return to the sport that has missed him.

Steve Dawson presents Chequered Flag on Star Sports, reviewing the 2011 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

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